Thank you for taking the time to visit our site, view some of our great cars and perhaps learn and share some thoughts on your favorite cars, restorations and other topics related to preserving this great heritage we call classic cars.
I thought this first discussion on restoration should focus on the new-comers to classic cars. Along those lines, find below the ‘Top Four’ things that you should consider – no there’s not a Dave Letterman “Top Ten” because it’s not that complicated. Here we go:
1. Research – do it ahead of time.
If you have interest in a classic, then it’s worth putting in a couple of hours to narrow down your interests to a model or style (ie. Mustang, Camaro, Rolls Royce, etc.). You are going to find that his isn’t anything like shopping at Carmax – good inventory is limited and almost every car has some areas where you will want to improve it. You need to have a realistic idea of what you want and what is available in the marketplace. We don’t want to dissuade you from buying a great car on impulse, trust me, I’ve done it and its often worked out great, but an informed buyer is a better buyer.
2. Price – negotiable except when it’s not.
Classic cars are difficult to get comparative prices on because there is such little inventory that sells in any given year and the differences in equipment, engines, etc. can have outsized impacts on prices. Again, if you do your research you will have a better idea of what the market is and you’ll be a better buyer. This is also why there is a long standing, and true, saying for classic cars attributed to Craig Jackson … “buy what you love, you’ll never be disappointed about the price because you can always drive it.” If you see a classic car as an investment, then it’s the one investment that you can actually get some enjoyment out of regardless of market pricing.
3. Exterior is important, but it’s underneath that matters.
This is not quite like the old saying “she looks nice, but has a great personality,” but there is something to that old quote when buying a classic. If you have a car with a solid frame and body, the exterior cosmetics and interior can be dealt with. If a car frame or body has damage, rust damage, etc., it is often far too expensive to even consider restoring, no matter how good it looks on the outside. The best approach is to limit your exposure which you can do by:
- purchase your car from a reputable source with demonstrated knowledge
- have a professional mechanic look over the car before you buy it
- if the car needs work, determine up front how you will get it done whether yourself or by a professional
4. Have fun while you search for your car.
Everyone is always worried about finding a solid car and getting a good deal, but this is the one hobby or passion where it has to appeal to you at a basic level. My best advice is that the cars I love the most are the ones that I just can’t wait to get in, fire up and take off for a drive!